In a landmark feat, six-year-old Rian Kumar of Chennai has set a new world record by cycling non-stop for 108 kilometres in a little over 5 hours.
He has been recognised by the World Book of Records as the “fastest and youngest" person to achieve the feat.
Rian told NDTV that his mother, retired Commander Gauri Sharma, who is a cyclist herself, inspired him in his pursuit of cycling. Both of Rian's parents are officers in the Indian Navy. The family moved to Chennai from Delhi recently.
No Formal Training
Speaking to NDTV, Rian said,
"The thing I like most about cycling is speed. I practise cycling three days a week and static cycling and strength training on other days."
According to a report in DT Next, Rian achieved this unique feat without any formal training. Riding on a 16-inch MTB children’s cycle, he began cycling in 2020, taking guidance from his mother Gauri.
Gauri said that the pandemic-induced lockdown provided him the "perfect opportunity" to hone his cycling skill as roads in Chennai were completely free, at most times. She told DT Next that Rian would join her everyday at 3 am to cycle from OMR to Mahabalipuram in Chennai.
Besides cycling, he also takes active interest in servicing his bicycle, she said and added that neither she nor her husband pressured him to achieve the world record.
The young achiever, who also takes inspiration from his favourite cyclists Tadej Pogacar, Julian Alaphilippe, and Mark Cavendish now aims to participate in the prestigious 200-km Brevets de Randonneurs (BRM) and at the Tour De France, the annual bicycle race at France.
Dream of Pedalling With CM Stalin One Day
A student of Class 2, Rian is well-known among Chennai's professional cyclists.
Talking to NDTV, accomplished cyclist OV Venkataragavan, aka "Super Randonneur", said he became Rian's fan after he met the boy during one of his early morning rides.
"He was chasing me to say ‘hi' and introduced himself. He said, 'I am Rian, the lion, and follow me on my Strava'. I was awestruck seeing his commitment and confidence. I have become his fan now."Venkataragavan said as quoted by NDTV
The talented kid, who reportedly watches global cycling network instead of cartoons during his free time, aspires to cycle along with MK Stalin, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu one day. CM Stalin also regularly pedals the same stretch of road as Rian.
Rian also had a message for other children: “Practice. If you practice and work hard, you can do whatever you like.”
(With inputs from NDTV and DT Next)